Manchester United takeover: Glazer family asked PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi to help increase Sheikh Jassim’s bid

Manchester United’s owners met with PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi to ask him to convince Sheikh Jassim to increase his bid to buy the club.

The Glazers want £6bn and last week Sheikh Jassim submitted a fifth, improved bid, which is understood to be his final offering, totalling around £5bn.

The Athletic reported on Friday that Al-Khelaifi has “played a significant role” in the Qatari royal’s bid to purchase the club from the Glazer family.

He has also reportedly met with the Raine Group to discuss the takeover.

But Sky Sports News has been told Al-Khelaifi has only been asked for advice, with Sheikh Jassim having also got in touch with the PSG president about his bid previously.

PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi arrives on the green carpet before the ceremony of the Best FIFA Football Awards in Paris, France, Monday, Feb. 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Image: The role of PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi in the potential takeover of Manchester United is advisory only

Sheikh Jassim believes his bid is a very competitive one which brings huge benefits to Manchester United, including clearing nearly £1bn worth of club debt and a separate fund to redevelop Old Trafford, the surrounding area and the club’s Carrington training ground.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS values United at a higher price than Sheik Jassim’s bid, but theirs is not for the whole club and would give the Glazers the opportunity to keep a 20 per cent stake. United’s share price closed down to $18.80 on the NYSE in May, giving the club a market cap of $3.09bn (£2.47bn).

‘Al-Khelaifi’s involvement would be significant, but he’s just been asked for advice’

Sky Sports News’ chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

“There have been some interesting developments on the never-ending Manchester United takeover saga because two of our colleagues at The Athletic – David Ornstein and Matt Slater – this evening are reporting Nasser Al-Khelaifi is involved in Sheikh Jassim’s bid to buy the club.

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Manchester United co-owner Avram Glazer remains tight-lipped as he’s questioned on the potential takeover of the club.

“That would be very, very significant because Al-Khelaifi is one of the most powerful men in world football; he’s president of PSG, he is also chairman of the European Club Association, he sits on the UEFA executive committee and also, he’s the president of Qatar Sports Investments – the sporting investment arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.

“If he’s involved in the takeover, it’s significant for two reasons. First of all, it would mean the president of PSG is also involved in trying to buy Manchester United, which would cause all sorts of complications and difficulties from a sporting and competitive point of view. The second thing is, if he is involved, that would suggest Sheikh Jassim’s bid is actually a bid on behalf of the Qatari state because the Qatari sovereign wealth fund would be involved.

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Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol explains Sheikh Jassim has submitted a fifth offer to takeover Manchester United but adds it will be his final offer for the club and that it’s now or never for the Glazers.

“What we’re being told [on Friday] evening is that two things are absolutely true. The first one is that when Sheikh Jassim first decided that he wanted to bid for Manchester United, he did get in touch with Al-Khelaifi. We’re being told there is nothing suspicious about that and that it’s all above board. They are both Qatari and Al-Khelaifi is one of the most powerful men in world football, as I mentioned, so why wouldn’t Sheikh Jassim get in touch and ask him, for instance, what he thought about Manchester United, whether he thought it was worth paying north of £5bn for the club?

“The second really significant thing that has happened, which The Athletic have reported [on Friday] evening, is that the Glazers reached out to Al-Khelaifi. They reached out to him and met him and what we’re being told is that the reason this meeting went ahead is because a little bit of pressure was being put on Al-Khelaifi to try and get Sheikh Jassim to increase his bid for the club.

“It’s been widely reported that the Glazers want £6bn for Manchester United. Sheikh Jassim is not willing to offer that kind of money; his bid is around £5bn. Al-Khelaifi has been sounded out by both sides, but people close to him are saying that this does not mean he is involved in buying the club, far from it. He was just asked for some advice.”

What the UK press say

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John Cross from The Mirror and Sam Wallace from the Daily Telegraph join Teddy Draper on Back Pages Tonight to discuss the latest on the Manchester United takeover.

The Telegraph’s Sam Wallace:

“For the Qataris, prestige is everything. They are absolutely in this race, they want to win. They are so far into it that they don’t want to seem to be defeated. So it’s about price so lo and behold, we’ve got a new bid.”

The Daily Mirror’s John Cross:

“Jim Ratcliffe would only own a share of the club and I just think that this totally misjudges the mood of Manchester United fans. Kaveh Solhekol was excellent when he said: everyone is sick and tired of this, it’s time to move on. The Glazers have either got to stick or twist and make a decision sometime soon.

“I messaged a Manchester United mate of mine before coming on asking which out of Qatar or Sir Jim Ratcliffe he would prefer and he immediately said the Sheikh because it would be complete ownership, the Manchester United fans are completely sick and tired of the Glazer family and do not want that ownership anymore.”

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